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#26466 - 09/24/04 09:17 AM Who's ball are the best
Graham Hales Offline
Bantam

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 19
A/S/L: 47/male/UK
Could someone please give me an informed rundown of ball manufacturers and how much involvement they may have in its development. Of all those out there, who are considered the most innovative, best with coverstocks, best cores, value for money, ones to avoid, overpriced etc.

In Britain Lane No.1 are rarely seen and the most expensive at about $450 drilled (£250), Brunswick Infernos range probably the most sought after at the moment, Storm's X-factor range were big sellers and AMF avoided until recent collaboration. Personally I'm a big fan of Morich cores and use Brunswick coverstock but who are all these ball manufacturers, who makes what for who. Circle Athletics are new to our shores, who are they. And I've never seen a Revolution, AZO, Nu-Line or Lane Masters' ball.

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Legend

Registered: Fri Aug 27 2004
Posts: 10100
A/S/L: Mountain View, CA
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#26467 - 09/24/04 01:41 PM Re: Who's ball are the best
Atochabsh Offline
USBC Bronze Coach

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 6567
A/S/L: 50/F/California
Columbia is very popular in our neck of the woods. Every Pro Shop seems to carry them. And I have to agree, since Columbia makes a good all around ball, and a good variety that suits nearly all bowler types and finances. They have core varities and coverstock varieties along with a range of pricing.

I personally prefer Ebonite, but they are not found in the shops around here. Up until their last few years, I loved their equipment. Their high performance balls just seem to die from oil soakage too soon. Hopefully that will be solved in R&D soon. My older reactive Ebonite stuff still hooks well and sometimes more then the newer balls. Hammer, now taken over by Ebonite, seems more popular, but I think its just because of price. I have not really been impressed by anyone throwing one.

Brunswick seems to have a hit with the Inferno line, but I don't see much else out there being used anymore. Used to see a lot of the various Zones and Fuzes but not any longer. I purchased an Ultimate Inferno, but didn't like it at all. It didn't hook like it was talked up too and went too long on our house pattern.

Storm seems better suited for larger hands and higher rev players. Everyone that I've seen excell with their equipment has been like that. I've bought three of their balls, but none suited. I always ended up going back and excelling with Ebonite.

Track has come a long way since they broke away from Columbia. People that throw Track seem very attached and devoted to the company. I have not tried any.

So that's one person's opinion. It really means pretty much nothing because all the ball companies have great equipment. Its all a matter of what is going to suit you best. How you find that out is to research equipment that has worked for you in the past. What RG was it?, what kind of core shape was it? cover stock? Find new equipment that is similar and go from there. Otherwise its a shot in the dark. There is so much out there now. Don't buy some high end ball depending on how you see someone else (or a pro on TV) throw it, unless you have a style very similar. I would stick with the bigger more reknown companies.

Erin

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#26468 - 09/27/04 06:32 AM Re: Who's ball are the best
Graham Hales Offline
Bantam

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 19
A/S/L: 47/male/UK
Thank you very much for the reply. It's nice to know that all manufacturers seem to be of a very high standard and it's just a matter of matching the equipment to your needs – which is how it should be. The hardest bit for a beginner seems to be able to know what sort of bowler they are. It is so easy to purchase the wrong ball in the formative years, as I have learned to my peril more than most!

Having just seen a tournament the Storm theory does match your explanation and the Inferno range was the most preferred of most (didn't see a single Fuze). The Orange Inferno seemed favourite and does what it says on the box, goes very long, hooks and hits hard – but only in the hands of the experts. In the hands of my pal, it went long and hit hard but forgot to hook, but he did finish 80th out of 300.

I shall from now on read the manufacturer’s figures, see what matches the most and decide from those. I very much valued your comments.

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#26469 - 09/28/04 04:02 AM Re: Who's ball are the best
Coach04 Offline
Legend

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 1000
A/S/L: Male/Texas
The Brunswick Inferno is an amazingly adjustable ball.

It has a plethora of drill specific reactions, as well as responding well to surface alterations. The best thing in my opinion about the Inferno is that since BASF has got their research team behind the coverstock, oil absorption seems to be non exsistant. I have a friend with several thousand games on his Inferno and the ball still performs like the day he bought it.

Storm - out of the box - I don't think anyone can beat it. The problem is that it loses its crisp backend reaction very quickly, and nothing on the planet will bring it back. I have a love-hate relationship with Storm.

Columbia - Its hard to say anything bad about a company that has been in the business and successful for so many years. They occasionally produce a stinker, but for the most part they have a solid line. Columbia is also the goto company for many balls sold under other brand names, such as AMF, and Roto-Grip. They are probably the biggest OEM ball plant around.

Hammer - I have a Hammer ball and use it for condition specific bowling. It spends most of its life in the bag. I have thrown their entire line and nothing they have impresses me. They perform very similar to Columbia balls, but I am more impressed with Columbia's line.

Trak - I have never thrown. I have never seen a Trak ball do anything that makes me say I got to have one.

Ebonite - Ebonite has a good line, the Vortex line is making an impression on the lanes. However I am hearing a lot about oil absorption problems. Even from the PBA pros I know who are on Ebonite staff. There seems to be a balancing act between great performance and soaking up too much oil.

Some other relative new commers in performance equipment is Elite, Lane #1, and Mo-Rich. They are starting to show up on the radar as good performers. They all use very unique core design.

I am not sure about shipping stuff overseas, but as a rule of thumb any performance ball can be purchased in the USA for $150 or less. Compitition is fierce amongst manufacturers, and they want turn around on new product in short life cycles.

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#26470 - 09/28/04 06:55 PM Re: Who's ball are the best
bimmerman Offline
Bracket Donor

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 195
A/S/L: 55/M/Maryland
Coach04, ust a small nit-pick. Rotogrip is actually manufactured by Storm, not Columbia.

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#26471 - 09/28/04 11:29 PM Re: Who's ball are the best
Coach04 Offline
Legend

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 1000
A/S/L: Male/Texas
My apologies, I get all the BS on balls mixed up some times. Thanks for the correction.

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#26472 - 09/29/04 12:37 AM Re: Who's ball are the best
Atochabsh Offline
USBC Bronze Coach

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 6567
A/S/L: 50/F/California
And there's a lot of BS to be sure.

Erin

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#26473 - 09/29/04 09:17 AM Re: Who's ball are the best
Graham Hales Offline
Bantam

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 19
A/S/L: 47/male/UK
Thanks everyone for the info.

Shipping costs are extremely high to the UK, plus an import tax we have called VAT. It would double the price of a ball to get it here. The very best we can hope to get a high-performance ball is about $300, so we don't try importing them as there is very little price difference. It's a shame we don't have the benefits of your Ebay and its support for bowlers. Our Ebay.co.uk tends to only offer used equipment of beginners standard as a rule.

To add to the original question, could someone inform me if Track are an independent company, or are they manufactured for them by a third-party? What about Dyno Thane and Circle – both of which are more competitively priced over here than most others.

Lastly, without being too technical please, regarding cores, why are Lane no1's cores diamond shaped, being radically different from most other manufacturers. Has anyone had a go with one of theirs and found it advantageous? I know Morich are innovative on cores and I am a big fan of their equipment, but the diamond shape seems such a departure from any one else's lot! And what does OEM (ball plant) mean? Thanks

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#26474 - 09/29/04 02:03 PM Re: Who's ball are the best
Atochabsh Offline
USBC Bronze Coach

Registered: 02/13/01
Posts: 6567
A/S/L: 50/F/California
If you know anyone travelling to the UK from the US, you can ask them to pick you up a ball. With the internet's help, finding a Pro Shop close to anywhere they are visiting is not difficult. Carrying it on the plane as luggage (even heavy luggage) is the cheapest way to go. I'm sorry about the VAT. Its 16% right?

Track is its own company now. But they used to be made by Columbia. They've now made some great equipment with very innovated asymetrical cores and current cover stocks.

If you look down from the pin of a bowling ball, if you cut the core in half and those halves are the same, then its a symmetrical core. If you cut it in half and one have looks one way and the other has a side puck or something on it, then that's asymmetrical.

The Diamond is a variation, IMO, of the lightbulb or fish core. That basic shape core has been very popular in a variety of balls and manufacterers. The Diamond shape is just the variation Lane One works with. It doesn't hold any magic powers and its symmetrical. I'd call it a medium power core as opposed to a 4 or 5 piece core which are generally asymmetrical.

Symmetrical cores are going to be easier to control and a smoother roll. Asymmetrical cores seem to have a greater continuing hook. But they can be difficult to control. In my experience, as a medium speed, medium rev stroker (doesn't hit up on the ball) the asymmetrical cores give me more driving power and more continuous hook, especially if the back ends of the lane condition are not strong. If the back ends are strong, then I like to move to a more center heavy symmetrical core. Hits harder, don't usually hook more dramatically, but also doesn't get squirrley from the strong backends i.e. easier to control. On strong back ends, an asymmetrical core can be very difficult to control and repeat shots with. Of course there are going to be those that are extremely skilled and can use anything successfully.

Erin

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#26475 - 09/30/04 03:38 AM Re: Who's ball are the best
Coach04 Offline
Legend

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 1000
A/S/L: Male/Texas
The dynamics of a football in flight are the basis of bowling ball cores, (American Football). This is where the study of two axis' come into play. A football is only stable when rotating around one of its two prefered axis'.

One is the axis through the points of the ball, like a tighty thrown spiral, the ball is very stable in flight. The other is 90 degrees oposite, going end over end like a football does when kicked, it is also very stable.

If you launch a foot ball in any other motion, it will seek one of its two axis' to stabilize that motion. The core of a bowling ball follows this same dynamic theory. The core begins its motion similar to a "wobbly" spiral, but ends stabilized in an end over end roll. This is the axis migration you see, if you put tape on your PAP, and watch it as it rolls down the lane.

The diamond shaped core is the football thoery. It looks like a carved up football, and the reaction follows the same physical charactaristics. However they also add a "lump of coal" on one end of the football shape to make it flip. On another they cut one end off to make it unstable in one direction. On still another they use two differing weights inside the diamond to alter its balance, and the shape of the flight path.

Their reasons are the same as everyone elses, produce a predictable ball path, and deliver the most stored energy to the pins. Does it work any better? It's hard to say, it may be great for some and not for others. What is good about it, is the math behind the dynamics is much easier for them to calculate a predicted result. The more the core varies from a football shape, the more difficult the math behind it. The more difficult or complex the math, the easier it is to make an error.

The last report I read on ball manufacturers in America, stated that there are five ball plants located here. They are Brunswick, Columbia, Hammer, Storm, and Ebonite. All other balls that are "Made in America" come out of one of these five manufacturing plants.

DynoThane was sold by Storm to an individual from their own design team. He owns the company, its trade name, and all rights to it. He staffs the reseach and development department. His designs are still manufactured by Storm.

I have heard that Columbia bought out Hammer, so although they have an independent plant, it is now Columbia's plant.

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